The divisional round of the 2016 NFL postseason was full of both memorable and forgettable quarterback performances. Which QBs were the best and worst this past weekend? ESPN Stats & Information takes a look using the prism of its Total Quarterback Rating (QBR).
1. Aaron Rodgers: 86.3 Total QBR
Rodgers' streak of 318 passes without an interception was snapped in the third quarter of the Green Bay Packers' win, but he still had the best Total QBR of the weekend.
Rodgers set up Mason Crosby's game-winning field goal with a 36-yard pass to Jared Cook. It was just the latest example of Rodgers' deep ball coming up in the clutch. Including playoffs, Rodgers has completed 5 of 8 passes (63 percent) thrown 30 or more yards downfield in the last minute of the fourth quarter over the past two seasons. The rest of the NFL is 4-of-46 (9 percent) on such passes over that stretch.
Rodgers broke out of the pocket at the start of the play to give himself time to throw. Rodgers was 7-of-9 for 137 yards and a touchdown when breaking the pocket Sunday, averaging 15.2 yards per attempt on those passes (he averaged 6.4 yards on passes inside the pocket). Rodgers has been nearly unstoppable from out of the pocket this postseason, completing 14 of 17 passes.
2. Matt Ryan: 85.2 Total QBR
Ryan was 10-of-13 (77 percent) with 154 yards against the blitz in Saturday’s win over the Seattle Seahawks, including his 7-yard touchdown pass to Julio Jones in the second quarter. That is Ryan’s highest completion percentage against extra pass-rushers in a playoff game in his career and tied for his second highest in any game this season.
Ryan was also 8-of-12 for 132 yards when under duress, tied for his most such completions in a game for the Atlanta Falcons this season. His 11.8 yards per attempt under pressure are the most against a Seahawks defense in a playoff game in the past 10 postseasons.
In his past three postseason games, Ryan has a QBR of 82. He had a 53 QBR in the first three games of his postseason career.
3. Dak Prescott: 78.8 Total QBR
Midway through the third quarter with the Dallas Cowboys trailing 28-13, Prescott threw an interception in the red zone for just the second time this season. However, he was able to bounce back and keep Dallas in the game, going 13-of-17 for 143 yards and two touchdowns the rest of the way. Before that interception, Prescott was 3-of-11 on throws more than 10 yards downfield. He finished the game 5-of-6 on such throws.
Prescott was 7-of-8 for 108 yards and two touchdowns against the blitz Sunday, his second-best completion percentage on such passes this season. He was 4-of-4 against the blitz in the fourth quarter, including his touchdown pass to Dez Bryant with 4:12 remaining.
Prescott was also 7-of-13 for 105 yards and a touchdown under duress. He was one of two qualified quarterbacks (along with Colin Kaepernick) who did not throw an interception under duress this season.
4. Russell Wilson: 61.6 Total QBR
Wilson was pressured 19 times Saturday, his most dropbacks under pressure in any postseason game of his career. He was 3-of-12 passing with a touchdown and an interception when pressured. The touchdown came with the Seahawks down 23 with less than four minutes left in the fourth quarter.
Wilson has thrown 10 interceptions in his past six postseason games, including two on Saturday, after throwing just one pick in his first six career playoff games.
5. Tom Brady: 60.5 Total QBR
Brady threw two interceptions on 38 attempts in Saturday’s win over the Houston Texans after throwing the same number of picks on 432 attempts during the regular season.
But the New England Patriots QB went 7-of-14 with a touchdown on passes thrown 15 or more yards downfield, picking up 207 of his passing yards on those throws. Brady hadn’t completed that many passes 15 or more yards past the line of scrimmage in the playoffs since the 2006 divisional round against the San Diego Chargers (when he went 7-of-17). He had five such completions in two games last postseason.
The biggest play of the game in terms of win probability added was Dion Lewis’ 98-yard kickoff return for a touchdown. The next 10 plays on that list were all the result of throws by Brady (nine completions, one defensive pass interference). Eight of those 10 passes were thrown at least 15 yards downfield.
6. Alex Smith: 38.3 Total QBR
The Pittsburgh Steelers defense suffocated Smith's short passing game. He averaged 6.4 air yards per attempt, his ninth game this season averaging fewer than 7.0 air yards per attempt. (League average for air yards this season is 8.1.) Only Sam Bradford (6.2 air yards per attempt) averaged fewer air yards per attempt than Smith’s 6.5 this season.
The Chiefs had 90 receiving yards after the catch, their third fewest in a game this season. Entering the game, the Chiefs averaged 130 yards after the catch per game, sixth most in the NFL. They lost all three games in which they had fewer than 95 yards after the catch.
7. Ben Roethlisberger: 36.0 Total QBR
Roethlisberger failed to lead a touchdown drive in Sunday's win over the Kansas City Chiefs, as Chris Boswell set a postseason record with six field goals. A major factor was Roethlisberger's struggles in the red zone.
Roethlisberger completed just 1 of 6 red zone passes. He also threw an interception and took a sack in those situations.
8. Brock Osweiler: 21.0 Total QBR
Osweiler was 1-of-8 with three interceptions on passes at least 15 yards downfield Saturday. He struggled passing downfield all season, completing only 26 percent of throws of that distance (including playoffs). Since the start of the 2009 season and including playoff numbers, Osweiler’s completion percentage on 15-yard throws in 2016 was better than only JaMarcus Russell's (22 percent in 2009) and Brady Quinn's (24 percent in 2009).
Osweiler threw two of his interceptions while targeting DeAndre Hopkins on Saturday. He threw 11 interceptions targeting Hopkins this season, the most by any quarterback to a single receiver. Texans passers were intercepted six times targeting Hopkins last season.